The Harry Potter universe is one of my favorite to get lost in. Full of magic and wonder it tells the story of a boy named Harry Potter who on his 11th birthday discovers that he is a wizard. Packed off by his aunt and uncle to attend wizarding school Hogwarts he soon discovers the truth about his past and finds that he has an important role to play in the magical world.
This wizarding world is full of a diverse range of villains. From villainous muggles (nonmagical humans), through dark wizards and witches and into werewolves and other creatures. Many of these wrongdoers make Harry’s life difficult in a whole range of ways, but which is the strongest?
In this list I explore 25 different villains and rank them in order, from weakest to strongest. While physical ability is considered I am also looking at magical knowledge as well as other forms of strength. In the wizarding world, it takes more than brute force to get your way and this is accounted for. I will also be exploring magical ability, knowledge, power, and strength of character.
As I am pulling from the entire Potterverse this article will also naturally contain some spoilers for the series including some minor ones from Fantastic Beasts and The Cursed Child. If you don’t want to risk spoilers about lesser-known villains from these spin-off franchises, such as Delphini or Nagini, then you may want to skip by their entries.
Now that's out of the way we can get on with the competition. Here is my definitive list of the top 25 Potterverse villains ranked from weakest to strongest.
25 The Dursleys
I include the Dursleys on this list because honestly anyone who decides that a tiny cupboard under the stairs is the place to house their orphaned nephew deserves to be on a list of villains. The truth of it is though that all their strength comes from making Harry feel worthless.
As soon as Harry finds out about Hogwarts he gains a place to belong and their power over him fades fast. With every friendship made, spell learned and semester completed the Dursley’s strength and control over him fades, leaving them weak and powerless pretty quickly.
24 Merope Riddle Née Gaunt
Merope is a pure-blood witch descended from Salazar Slytherin himself. Her upbringing was tragic and her means of escape was magic. Using strong love potions she bewitched a handsome and wealthy muggle named Tom Riddle.
Her strength was enough to keep Tom under a spell for long enough to get married and fall pregnant but it didn’t last. Tom was freed from the effects of the potion soon after and fled.
Merope sadly passed away shortly after she gave birth to their son, Tom Morvollo Riddle, the child who would later become Lord Voldemort. Hence we will never know the full extent of her strength.
23 Rita Skeeter
A controversial choice I’m sure but hear me out. Rita Skeeter is one of the most poisonous journalists out there. She has strength and power from her position as a writer in the most read wizarding newspaper, The Daily Prophet, and she uses it.
An unregistered animagus, a fact which shows some serious wizarding skill, she focuses often on bringing down anyone who displeases her. Pretty evil if you ask me.
Fortunately, her strength is limited by the restrictions placed upon her by her job. However, she’s definitely stronger than she first appears and I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of her.
22 Crabbe and Goyle
While Crabbe and Goyle provide the brawn for Malfoy neither have any real strength in terms of wizarding powers. It’s all purely brute physical strength with little thought behind it. They are in fact so thoughtless that Pottermore even dedicated an entire article to the stupidest things they ever did.
Their strength is only very fleeting in the wizarding world.
With no real brains, thought or knowledge behind any of their actions these teenage henchmen and bodyguards are simply that and nothing more.
21 Amycus Carrow
A dark wizard who fought in the first wizarding war Carrow was later welcomed back into Voldemort’s ranks after the Azkaban breakout. When he was appointed the defense against the dark arts post he turned the teaching position into simply learning the dark arts.
Teaching students how to use powerful unforgivable curses he may have strength in magic but he has zero in character.
He even spat on Professor McGonagall. That didn’t end well for him and he soon found himself back in Azkaban with his sister, powerless and weak with only Dementors for company.
20 Peter Pettigrew
Peter Pettigrew is better known as Wormtail. Back as a Hogwarts student, he was a Gryffindor and friends with James Potter, Harry’s father.
While he had enough strength to become an animagus, he was ultimately a very weak man.
He quickly turned to the dark side of magic and became nothing more than Voldemort’s puppet. After years in hiding as a pet rat he eventually met his demise by what some may feel was compassion but Voldemort felt was weakness.
19 Antonin Dolohov
One of the original Death Eaters, Dolohov was said to be a strong and powerful wizard who was well regarded amongst Voldemort’s associates. He committed a large number of atrocities but found himself in Azkaban serving time for them.
After Voldemort’s return, he escaped and went back out to do the Dark Lord’s dirty work once more. It didn’t last long however because he ended up straight back behind bars.
For someone supposedly very strong he was very stupid to end up in Azkaban not once but twice. That takes him down a few notches in my book. Maybe the Dementors took all his strength.
The latest Fantastic Beasts trailer shows us that Nagini, Voldemort’s serpant companion, is, in fact, a Maledictus. This means she is cursed to transform into a beast. At first, she can control it but it eventually it overwhelms her and she remains in serpent form permanently.
In The Crimes of Grindlewald, she shows strength and skill along her journey.
I don’t wish to spoil the movie since it’s so recent, but it was great to see the backstory of this fascinating character. She remains on my villain list for her status as Voldemort’s horcrux but honestly, there’s much more too her story.
17 Professor Quirinus Quirrell
Poor stuttering Professor Quirrell is the defense against the dark arts teacher in Harry’s first year. Often overlooked and considered a nuisance rather than a threat, it turns out that he is, in fact, hiding a very real threat, Voldemort.
Quirrell is playing host to Voldemort’s barely alive consciousness which makes him both strong and weak. He manages to get past several obstacles guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone but yet fails to survive the ordeal. The only real strength he has is Voldemort’s, as evidenced by his fate when he is no longer useful.
16 Salazar Slytherin and the Serpent of Slytherin
Salazar Slytherin is said to be one of the most brilliant witches and wizards of his time. He was a pure-blood wizard and founder of Hogwarts who held controversial views.
His desire was to teach just those wizards and witches who had magical bloodlines. This disdain for any witches and wizards from muggle families puts him on my villain list. That and the whole creating a chamber of secrets with a giant and lethal basilisk inside thing.
While I have no doubt he was incredibly strong he places lower down due to the lack of information about his story.
When I’m thinking of strong villains Aragog actually ranks pretty highly on the list. An Acromantula who was initially raised by Hagrid he now lives in the Forbidden Forest.
He’s basically a huge and powerful giant spider.
The scariest part is that he also has a wife, Mosag and is leader of a huge Acromantula colony. He is confined to the forest though which limits his strength somewhat. He is also indebted to Hagrid, a trait which keeps some of his strength control.
14 Draco Malfoy
I’m going to say it. Draco Malfoy is one of the most underrated wizards in Hogwarts. He is rarely given enough credit for his abilities, which in my opinion match up to those of his parents.
From unforgiveable curses to complex charms he uses powerful magic which should be beyond his level as an underage student. He also fixes a broken vanishing cabinet and is accomplished at occulmancy, a skill which requires strength of mind.
I am so convinced of his strength and power that I even wrote about it. He also shows incredible strength of character later in the series, daring to defy his Death Eater heritage.
13 Corban Yaxley
Yaxley is a Death Eater with quite an impressive list of achievements to his name. They include breaking out from Alcatraz and infiltrating and taking control of The Ministry of Magic.
Yaxley is an incredibly strong, powerful and cunning wizard.
He is definitely a villain though and it is ultimately this which proves his downfall. On the losing side of the Battle of Hogwarts his fate is currently unknown. He was however last seen being defeated in battle by Lee Jordan and George Weasley.
12 Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy
The Malfoy’s strength lies in their position within the wizarding community. A highly regarded and incredibly wealthy family, Lucius, in particular, has spent years talking and buying his way into peoples pocket's.
He has an extraordinary amount of power and control over a large amount of influential people. This gives him strength. As his wife Narcissa also benefits from this.
Alongside these strengths both Malfoy’s have also proven themselves skilled at magic. Narcissa also proved her love for her family when she lied to Voldemort to protect Draco. Something which required great strength and courage.
11 Death Eaters
The Death Eaters are Voldemort’s army. While some have been singled out in this list as exceptionally strong they are in fact much stronger together. It is when they function as a unit that they achieve the most.
Their greatest victory is arguably the total take over of both The Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. This task was achieved only by a large number of Death Eaters working together to accomplish it. The group are definitely stronger together.
10 Fenrir Greyback
Fenrir Greyback is a werewolf notorious for his savagery and his desire to infect as many people as possible with lycanthropy (the werewolf gene). His aim was to build a mighty werewolf army, strong enough to dominate the wizarding community by brute force.
His raw strength is incredible.
He is also responsible for the turning of Remus Lupin and the injury of Bill Weasley. His ability to transform and change lives gives him a strength matched by few.
9 The Giants
The Giants are a species often ignored by wizards, until Voldemort came along. Notorious for their brute strength and unpleasant tendencies Voldemort managed to get them on his side.
With formidable height and incredible strength, they are difficult to overpower, even for wizards and witches. Their strength is mostly limited only by their reduced intellect.
This makes them not just an imposing physical sight but a very real danger to anyone in their way. Hostile and angry they were responsible for a large number of atrocities during the wizarding war.
8 Barty Crouch Jr
Barty Crouch Jr is a fully fledged Death Eater with a list of impressive feats to his name. He joined Voldemort back when he was a teen and never looked back.
After he was sent to Azkaban for his crimes he later escaped with help from his mother and a polyjuice potion. He is calculated, cruel and very powerful.
He passed himself off as Alastor Moody for an entire school year, helping Harry win the Tri-Wizard tournament while appearing not to interfere. All signs of a very strong, cunning and powerful wizard. He's also incredibly sinister.
7 Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix gains her high place on my list due to her total obedience to Voldemort but also her power over him and others. She was long known to be a dark and downright evil witch. While her magical strength is great so are her powers of persuasion and manipulation.
After her escape from Azkaban during the mass break-out she came back stronger than ever.
Over the next two years she would persuade Voldemort to father her child and even more bizarrely her husband to happily accept it. Now that is a strong woman.
6 Delphini Riddle
You would think that Delphini, as the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix LeStrange would have huge amounts of strength, wisdom, and power. The truth is her chaotic upbringing means she never really gains the strength of her parents, despite showing huge amounts of promise.
She’s ruthless and determined but most of her power is in manipulation. While her strength is apparent in her use of wandless magic and command of parseltongue it remains often uncontrolled.
While I would say she is showing enough skills to be more powerful than her mother we are never likely to see her reach Voldemort’s heights. That's probably for the best.
Dementors are the foulest creatures in the entire Potterverse. They gain strength from others misery, draining victims of their hope, happiness, and joy leaving only despair and sadness.
A dementors powers are so strong they can even be felt by muggles, although they do not see them.
Employed as guards for the wizarding prison Azkaban they turn when Voldemort offers them more souls. They do however eventually fade away if they are denied the conditions in which they thrive.
4 Dolores Umbridge
If this was a list of my most hated villains then Dolores Umbridge would be number one. Ruthless, manipulative and determined she clawed her way up the ranks in the Ministry of Magic by tooth and nail.
She has incredible self-belief and her strength comes from her sheer determination and grit. Re-writing history, taking credit for others work and using intimidation and interrogation she fought her way to power.
This power hungry, angry and frankly sinister woman is someone you really don't want to ever encounter.
3 Professor Severus Snape
I know, I know you are all going to tell me he isn’t a villain and I know that but at the same time can we really be sure?
Severus Snape gains his place so high up due to the incredible strength I believe it took for him to play both sides so well. Both Dumbledore and Voldemort trusted him implicitly and that's no mean feat.
While the last book appears to show him on the side of all that is good I don’t think we can entirely dismiss some of his more dark actions. Whether you are convinced he’s evil or not you can’t deny he shows incredible strength and skill.
2 Gellert Grindelwald
Gellert Grindelwald was said to be one of the strongest and most dangerous wizards of all time. He is often compared to Voldemort and matched up equally against him.
While I don’t want to go into his many many crimes, detailed in the latest Fantastic Beasts movie, I will say that he is definitely a villain.
He is a strong and powerful wizard, even more so when he gains control of the Elder Wand. He is also mighty enough to stand up to Voldemort, although that decision ultimately ends very badly indeed.
In many ways, I wanted to bump Voldemort down the list. There are some really evil villains in the Potterverse and he isn’t the creepiest (that's Bellatrix) the most sinister (that's Barty Crouch Jr) or even the most off-putting (definitely Umbridge) but he is the strongest.
Over the years he has escaped death itself using an array of vastly powerful magic to keep himself alive. He is so strong that wizards fear to speak his name. No one else has that power, no one.
While he was eventually defeated, as villains usually are, his legacy will continue for generations to come in the wizarding world. That’s strength from even beyond the grave.